It was another exciting weekend at TPC Scottsdale. Scottie Scheffler shot a final round 65 to clinch back-to-back titles at the Waste Management Open. The victory moves him back into the number one spot in the world golf rankings. Jon Rahm continued his fantastic run with a solo third place which was the best finish of his career at this tournament. That was his seventh Top 10 in his last eight starts. Rickie Fowler scored the highlight of the weekend with an ace on the 7th hole on Sunday afternoon. He now has back to back Top 12 finishes with hopefully more to come in 2023. We had all the usual debauchery going on at the 16th hole throughout the weekend which you can catch the highlights of on social media whenever you would like. It is time to move on from the fun and get back into the flow of the PGA Tour schedule up the west coast to Pacific Palisades, California.
The Genesis Invitational has been known by other title sponsors but there's only one word you need to know this weekend, Riviera. The tournament is played at the prestigious Riviera Golf and Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California. The course is a par 71 and it measures out 7,322 yards with poa annua greens. It has hosted three major championships; the 1948 U.S. Open, the 1983 PGA Championship, and the 1995 PGA Championship. The winning scores at Riviera have ranged from 7 under par to 19 under par and it all comes down to the final two Par 5’s.
The big bombers do have an advantage because they can reach both of those par 5’s in two and lower their scores. This doesn’t mean that the course managers can’t have success because they can by using their accuracy. The fairways are very narrow which makes it tough on the bigger hitters to keep it in the short grass. The greens are also on the smaller size as well compared to most other PGA Tour courses. One of the most important stats this weekend will be rough proximity. This number tells you how good the player is at getting themselves from the rough on the green close to the hole. That’s important because these players will miss fairways and will need to get out of trouble and get the ball close to the hole.
If you are looking for a course comparison, When you look at course comparisons, Augusta National is one of the best. The reason this course keeps coming up is that it favors left handed players. Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson and Mike Wier are the only players to have won both the Masters and at Riviera, and what do those players have in common? They're lefties!
This an Invitational which has given this event a truly stacked field which could rival even the Masters. You've got 23 of the Top 25 golfers in the most current World Golf Rankings taking part this weekend. All 30 players at the top of the FedEx Cup standings including Rory McIlory, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Max Homa, and Hideki Matsuyama will be in attendance at the Genesis Invitational. The 2022 winner will not be Joaquin Niemann because he has left for the LIV Tour. Being that this is an invitational, we’ve got a slightly smaller field at 132. Tiger Woods tees it up this weekend which is surprising given his history at this event. Despite winning 82 times on the PGA Tour, he has not won here in 11 tries which is the most he’s played without a victory.
The weather will not play much of a factor at this tournament. We will see partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 60s. There is a chance of rain on Saturday morning which could affect you playing those showdown lineups but not much you can do if you are playing the full weekend slate.
When you've got such a terrific field, it makes narrowing down your personal pool of players to use even more difficult. If you are mass entering, go ahead and try to mix up those Top 10 players as best you can but if you are not that type of player, you have to stand your ground on a few select golfers. I tried to avoid the chalky plays as much as possible with a few exceptions. I do love the 7K range this week, lots of value to help you make a nice balanced lineup across the board. It’ll be once again to just focus on one course instead of two or three this weekend.
ONE AND DONE SELECTION: Tony Finau